In an apparent attempt to bring all the non-BJP political parties under one umbrella to take on the ruling party at the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and winning the power, the Telugu Desam Party Chief and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu has urged all the opposition parties for a meeting on November 22 at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in New Delhi. Naidu said that the meeting is tentatively suggested on November 22 and it should happen, subject to the availability of various leaders.
Preceding this announcement, Naidu had a series of meeting with various political heads right from Delhi to Chennai in the past few weeks. In this connection, the TDP leader had met the General Secretary of the Congress Party, and former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot in AP capital of Amaravati yesterday. The day before, Naidu had also met the DMK President, MK Stalin in Chennai.
Stating that meeting was fruitful with Stalin, Naidu had said that all the non-BJP political parties are joining hands to bring them on a single platform. Few political parties might have reservation about some issues, he added, “TDP had difference of opinion with the Congress for four decades. Nevertheless, we are trying to bring all political parties except BJP on a single platform. Democracy is paramount. Therefore, it is for the people to sink their differences. The citizens are ready for it now as is evident.”
Naidu briefed the media in Chennai after an hour long meeting he had with Stalin at his residence. Before that, Naidu had also met the Janata Dal Secular Chief and former Prime Minister, HD Deve Gowda and his son and the current Chief Minister of Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy in Bangalore on Thursday. So, Naidu, who is not nursing the ambition of becoming the Prime Minister, is on a back to back meeting with major political parties other than BJP. At the Bangalore meeting, the three leaders were on the same page on the need to unite the Opposition and save India’s institutions from the BJP. After the meeting, Kumaraswamy had even stated that the next year’s hustings will be a repeat of 1996, referring the the United Front Government backed by Congress from the outside, in which his father Deve Gowda became the PM, followed by the late Inder Kumar Gujral. Naidu, as a convener of the United Front had played a crucial role, which he is trying to do it even at this juncture. The seasoned politician, who visited New Delhi last week had a series of meeting with various political party leaders including Congress party chief, Rahul Gandhi (TDP and Congress has forged alliance to contest the forthcoming elections in Telangana), Farooq Abdullah of National Conference and Sharad Pawar of NCP. Earlier, Naidu had also met leaders like Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Samajwajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
Apparently, Naidu’s efforts are bearing fruit and he is getting encomiums from various quarters, especially from the Congress party. Puducherry (Pondycherry) Chief Minister, V Narayanasamy was of the opinion that Naidu had set out a journey to united the opposition parties with an intention of forming a secular front government, ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. As Naidu has assured the other leaders of various political parties that he had opted himself out of the PM race, the apparent goal is to stitch an alliance with a common minimum programme and fight the Lok Sabha hustings with their regional influences and once they emerge as winners, then they would sit and decide who should become the Prime Minister depending on the number of Lok Sabha seat each political party had won.
As three crucial states in the Hindi heartland could decide the fate of the BJP, where factors such as anti-incumbency factor, in addition to failure of election promises of the BJP ruled states and corruption could pose negative factor. As the Lok Sabha polls are only months away, if Naidu and other leaders can form an alliance with a common minimum programme, they might succeed in unseating BJP and forming a new Government with development as a single agenda. At this juncture, the speech, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal made during the inauguration of Signature Bridge, where he praises Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister for his vision to lay emphasis on science and technology and good governance. Rather than polarising the country in the name of religion and temple issues, India should march ahead with developmental agenda.